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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Oddball questions before brewing first batch
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:51 AM   #1
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Default Oddball questions before brewing first batch

I'm soon to brew my first batch and have a few questions that don't seem to be typically asked. They kinda seem like dumb questions, but I'll go by the old adage that there's so such thing. I guess I'm trying to anticipate a few 'what to do's and don'ts' and some minor equipment questions. I'm going to do full-boil 5-gallon batches outdoors with a burner in a 15 gallon kettle.

1) I've got a plastic measuring cup that measures 2 quarts, and a small glass one that measures 2 cups. Are these enough? I was thinking ideally I should have at least one large glass measuring cup. What do others use and find remarkably handy?

2) Following from the above: once the wort is boiled and cooled, is there a need to measure it's volume and then 'top it off' if I'm doing full boil 5-gallon batches? If so... what's the handiest way to measure how much wort I've ended up with after the boil and how much water I ought to add?

3) I have a 15 gallon s.s. kettle and I bought a ball valve for it. However, ought I buy some sort of spigot or other way to better direct the wort into the fermenter? Judging by the looks of the ball valve, it doesn't look like it would be hard to aim the wort coming out into the bucket... but err, yeah, spigot better? If so do I need a metal one, or can a plastic one easily screw on once the pot is cooled? Are these things typically standard size?

Sorry if these questions are embarrassingly dumb, but I just want to be prepared. Thanks!

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Old 02-13-2013, 01:58 AM   #2
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Mark the 5 gallon point on your fermenter and top up to that point. You will lose a considerable amount of liquid in boil off.

You can buy a metal adapter that screws into the ball valve. It will aim the flow pretty well, and you can attach tubing to it as well.

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:03 AM   #3
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I always boil 6.5 gallons for a 5 gallon batch.
By the end of a 60 minute boil and a minor amount of trub junk im right at 5 gallons every time. If you have a glass carboy you should mark and measure it.
If you can find a 30 inch wide wallpaper water holder it will do a great job sanitizing your tools.

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:09 AM   #4
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Awesome. Thanks for these suggestions, guys, it's much appreciated! The wallpaper water holder is something I never thought of but I can see how it will be ideal!

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:14 AM   #5
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1. What are you measuring with the cups? I buy water by the gallon or 2.5 gallon and assume the volumes are accurate. I've been spot-on through many brews this way. For general brewery use I have a pair of 4c. measuring cups that serve well.

2. As PastorofMuppets said you'll need to boil more than 5 gallons to achieve 5 gallons in the fermenter (if you do full boils, as you said). My setup needs 6.32g pre-boil to reach 5.25 over an hour. Yours will be different, but shouldn't be terribly far off. In any case it's best to pre-measure and mark known volumes in both your kettle and your fermenters. Most buckets come pre-marked and are more or less accurate. Alternatively I suppose you could drain your wort into gallon jugs and then pour into the fermenter. As in: fill 1 gallon, dump into fermenter. Fill same jug again, dump, etc. Count the jugs and top-up as needed.

3. If I'm reading right, you have a 15g SS pot with a ball valve near the bottom for your 'out' to the bucket. Why not just attach a length of silicon tubing? I have a 1/2" ball with a 1/2x1/2 hose barbed hose adapter on my kettle, and use the clear cheap-seats tubing from Lowes (it's not food rated but is only contacting cool wort- no off flavors or loss of mental acuity have been noted).

Good luck, and they're not terribly dumb questions. I've certainly asked worse. Kyle

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:16 AM   #6
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You don't need it for extract beer (especially when you have a valve- get a barb and silicone tubing making it super easy to drain), but an aluminum 4 QT aluminum pitcher (online for < $15) is terribly handy. One "one time only" trick to 6.5 G carboys is measure a plastic measuring stick for 1G, 2G...5G and 6G levels. No need to replace tape on a carboy.

Prost!

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Old 02-13-2013, 11:19 PM   #7
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Brewhardware.com has some nice and inexpensive labels for glass carboys. Also a good video on how to do it right.


+1 on the 4 qt aluminum pitcher. Got mine at restaurant supply store and se it all he time.

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Old 02-14-2013, 04:06 PM   #8
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Great! Thanks guys. I'm going to pop into a kitchen supply store later today and see if I can grab an aluminum measuring cup.

My plastic fermentor buckets aren't labelled inside with measurements. I'm guessing that it's a very bad idea to use a permanent marker to indicate the 5 gallon level? I imagine the marker will end up in the beer?

Also, you mentioned a "one time use" measuring rod. Why one time use? Can't they be cleaned and sterilized for multiple uses?

Thanks again!

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Old 02-14-2013, 05:49 PM   #9
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On the bucket just use the levels marked on the outside. Shine a light on the external mark and you should be able to see it on the inside just fine.

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Old 02-14-2013, 05:52 PM   #10
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Also,


If you can find one, a restaurant supply store will have equipment better suited for brewing than a kitchen supply store. Bigger and more economical.

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